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India and Russia in a Changing World

This article analyses the 15th Annual India-Russia Summit of December 2014. It situates the traditionally strong Indo-Russian strategic ties in a post-Cold War world in which multiple new power centres are set to emerge.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for the 15th Annual India–Russia Summit on 11 December 2014 is significant because it took place in a changed domestic and global context. Both nations are in the process of redefining their foreign policy priorities based on pragmatic considerations. The summit was a part of the annual bilateral summits instituted by Putin during his first term as President in 2000 when the strategic partnership between India and Russia was signed.

This strategic partnership was subsequently elevated to a “special and privileged strategic partnership” in 2010. In the 15 summits held since 2000 (the four between 2008 and 2012 were attended by the then President Dmitry Medvedev), the two sides have signed 144 agreements/memoranda of understanding (MOU)/declarations in diverse areas such as military and technical cooperation, space, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons, trade and commerce, counterterrorism, and education and culture. Although it will take a while to realistically evaluate the outcome of the meetings between President Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the December summit in New Delhi, it is clear that in the changed geostrategic global environment, the engagements have opened new perspectives on cooperation.

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